"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, August 5, 2019

Secularity and Science

I know for some people these "debates" between so-called religion and science are really difficult but I confess to always having found them very tedious and artificial. In the hands of many, the problem may be found in treating "science" as some kind of omniscient ideology rather than the epistemically circumscribed set of methods it really is. Once you stop treating "science" like some kind of oracle, many problems disappear. Still, for those for whom these are live issues, a just-released collection looks like it contains some fascinating research in a multi-authored volume: Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion by Elaine Howard Ecklund, David R. Johnson, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Steven W. Lewis, Robert A. Thomson, Jr., and Di Di (Oxford University Press, 2019), 352pp.

Here is the description supplied by the publisher:
Do scientists see conflict between science and faith? Which cultural factors shape the attitudes of scientists toward religion? Can scientists help show us a way to build collaboration between scientific and religious communities, if such collaborations are even possible?
To answer these questions and more, the authors of Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion completed the most comprehensive international study of scientists' attitudes toward religion ever undertaken, surveying more than 20,000 scientists and conducting in-depth interviews with over 600 of them. From this wealth of data, the authors extract the real story of the relationship between science and religion in the lives of scientists around the world. The book makes four key claims: there are more religious scientists then we might think; religion and science overlap in scientific work; scientists - even atheist scientists - see spirituality in science; and finally, the idea that religion and science must conflict is primarily an invention of the West. Throughout, the book couples nationally representative survey data with captivating stories of individual scientists, whose experiences highlight these important themes in the data. Secularity and Science leaves inaccurate assumptions about science and religion behind, offering a new, more nuanced understanding of how science and religion interact and how they can be integrated for the common good.
And here is the Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: From "Carriers" of the Secular to Religion in Scientific Work

Part I: West
Chapter 2: The United States- Scientists Respond to Evangelicals
Chapter 3: United Kingdom- "Impotent Anglicans" and "Dangerous Muslims"
Chapter 4: France- Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Chapter 5: Italy- Everyone's Catholic and Nobody Cares

Part II: East
Chapter 6: Turkey- The Politics of Secular Muslims
Chapter 7: India- Science and Religion as Intertwined Intimates
Chapter 8: Hong Kong and Taiwan- A Science Friendly Christianity and Buddhism

Part III: Looking Forward
Chapter 9: An Integrated Global Science and Religion

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